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An island in the north east Aegean sea.
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09 April 2006

Διαβάζω για την Πολιόχνη

Η αρχαιότερη πόλη της Ευρώπης

Το Σάββατο, σε ένα βιβλιοπωλείο που έχει πολλά αρχαιολογικά βιβλία, βρίσκω στην τύχη ένα μικρό βιβλίο με τίτλο "Πολιόχνη". Το κοιτάω και σκέφτομαι: Υπάρχει και άλλο μέρος με αυτό το όνομα; Ξανακοιτάω την φωτογραφία στον τίτλο, μοιάζει πάρα πολύ με την Πολιόχνη που επισκέφτηκα στην Λήμνο. Το ανοίγω και το επιβεβαιώνω, το ίδιο μέρος. Μόλις 7 Ευρώ κοστίζει και το παίρνω αμέσως.

Ακόμα δεν το διάβασα όλο, άλλα και μόνο από τις εικόνες που βλέπω, θυμάμαι την μέρα που περπάτησα τα δρομάκια της αρχαιότερης πόλης της Ευρώπης. Είναι πολύ ιδιαίτερο μέρος, έχει αέρα όχι μόνο ιστορίας άλλα και ιστοριών. Σε κάνει να φανταστείς τους ανθρώπους εκεί. Το βιβλίο μου επιτρέπει πρόσβαση σε αυτόν τον κόσμο από εδώ, την μακρινή Αθήνα.

Το πιο σημαντικό που κατάλαβα από την Πολιόχνη, κυρίως βλέποντας τα πέτρινα σπιτάκια εκεί, αλλά και στην υπόλοιπη Λήμνο, είναι το ότι η ζωή στην Λήμνο δεν άλλαξε για χιλιάδες χρόνια.


Posted by betabug at 16:56 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
21 April 2006

Back To The Beach

Arrived in the village, comfortable house, walk



Today is my first full day in the village. Yesterday I arrived, found the little house in good shape. Had to do some cleaning for the dust, but none of the problems with humidity I had dreaded. I slept all afternoon and in the evening went out to meet my friends from the village. Lots of seafood, as is appropriate for the season.

This afternoon I was to take my first ride with the bicycle (which wasn't rusty, at least not any more than last year). I had pumped the tires in the morning.

When I wanted to leave, I noticed the front tyre to be flat again. No ride today. Instead I set out for a walk, and as you can see from the picture, I reached the beach. It's a bit unkept (as usual in spring) but quite nice to be here. So to all my friends out there: Wish you were here.


Posted by betabug at 17:15 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
23 April 2006

Aufstehen nach der Auferstehung

Ανάσταση auf dem Dorf

Gestern Nacht war das grosse Finale der Oster-Feiertage. Um 11 Uhr Abends machte ich mich auf in die Kirche. Dort sass ich erstmal vor dem Eingang rum und schaute zu wie die Dorfbevölkerung eintrudelte.

Alle waren fein rausgeputzt, die Mädels nutzten wohl die Gelegenheit um mal wieder so richtig den Filmstar zu mimen. In der Kirche wurde es langsam voll, so dass ich wieder raus ging. Inzwischen waren auch viel Freunde und Nachbarn da. Die Litanei war in vollem Gange und kam gerade in die Endgerade. Es trafen immer noch Leute ein.

Dann kamen die ersten Stimmen von Innen "Χριστός ανέστη! Χρόνια πολλά" (Christos anesti! Chronia polla - Christus ist auferstanden! Viele Jahre!) Es kamen auch schon die ersten Leute raus die Kerzen am heiligen Licht angezündet hatten und das Feuer weitergaben. Vor der Kirche knallte und rumpelte das Feuerwerk los.

Auch ich zündete meine Kerze an und wünschte meinen Nachbarn alles Gute. Dann ging es drum die Kerze brennend nach Hause zu bringen. Am Nachmittag hatte es noch schlecht ausgeschaut, mit starkem Wind. Doch am Abend legte sich der Wind und ich konnte mit der Flamme ein Kreuz über der Tür machen.

Weiter gings zu Freunden, wo es das erste "richtige Essen nach der Fastenzeit gab. Traditionelle Suppe, Fleisch, Eier. Bis ich ins Bett kam wurde es spät.Heute also erstmal ordentlich ausschlafen und nachher steht das Osterlamm auf dem Programm.


Posted by betabug at 12:15 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

Visiting Old Friends

Παλαιόκαστρο peninsula



On Easter Sunday many people visit with old friends. So do I - took the repaired bicycle on a ride to the Παλαιόκαστρο (paleokastro, "old castle") peninsula near the village of Plaka, on the north east corner of Limnos. Nearly spat my lungs out in the process, Athens city life turned me soft.

Now I'm sitting here, enjoying the view. There is sea on three sides around me. It's like sitting in the front of a big ship. In the distance I see the island of Samothraki.Over to my left I can see the cape with the lighthouse that is the northeast "end" of Limnos. I've been there too by bicycle, but that must have been some eons ago.

The wind is a bit chilly and the sea is really not warm enough to swim. I'll just have a rest, enjoy the scenery and the sound of the waves. Still have to get back home over the hill, so I'll take my time.

I took some pictures to stitch a panorama, but I doubt that it can catch the moment.


Posted by betabug at 16:15 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
08 August 2006

A Few Days Of Limnos

Lazy beach vacation, with a bad start


We're already in Limnos (and in the village Panagia) for a few days now. We arrived in Myrina from the Ship on Thursday morning. Went straight to the beach in Myrina, took a good swim. The sea was as calm as it ever gets, the water was warm and silken. Swimming was the real thing after a night on the ship. I had slept considerably well (outside, above deck), but my bones were slightly in disorder - too used to good, soft beds.

We bought some groceries (when I went to Panagia for the first times, getting vegetables was a problem, as the shops didn't stock every day). Then we took the bus across the island to our village. The bus driver stopped again and again for old people to get off near their homes. After a good tour of the island we got to Panagia, where the bus driver refused to make an extra stop for us too. So we loaded our bags and had to walk the small distance. Into the homely house we went, to clean up, unpack, let the vacation begin.

Meeting old friends


At noon I went to the kafeneion to say hello to my friends. Big smiles as a welcome, "how have you been?", "how are things here now?", "sit down and drink something!", and I'm back as if I had left yesterday. I had my first Ouzo, and we chatted along.

Ear problems


When I went back for my well deserved siesta, I felt a small headache. Not much, but after all I hadn't slept so much and had been drinking at noon. I lay down and found some sleep, only to wake up to more headache and ear pain. My ears were closed and I started to feel terrible. Looks like I had gotten too much wind on the ship. After a while the left ear cleared up, while the right ear got worse. I took some pain killer, put a bit of cotton with two drops of alcohol into the ear (to warm it up) and went to sleep again. In the morning all the pain was gone and I was lucky to have been left only with the ear being slightly "closed", a condition which is slowly going away too.

Lazy beach vacation


The next few days have been spent idling, visiting people, eating. Late in the evenings we were walking to the beach. The distance by foot is about half an hour. In past years I went there by bicycle in five minutes, but this time we are two of us and only one bicycle. We went late when the sun is only pleasantly warming, took our time and had a swim in the sea to cool us down afterwards. The first day the sea was again like a mirror. The water was mainly warm, with some flows of colder water inbetween.

We sat on the beach for a long time afterwards, watching as the colors of the sky and the sea changed as the sun went down behind the hills behind our backs. At one point the sea started to turn a rosy, orange color, mixed with light blue, almost illuminated against the darker horizon. A big waxing moon above that. I tried to take a picture, but a camera can only attempt to take a faint memory of such a moment.


Posted by betabug at 21:47 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

Goodbye Little House

It's been a splendid time

Today is the last day, tonight is the last night for me in this little house. More than two years ago I came here in a helter skelter, had the chance to stay here (against a lot of odds) for half a year. My time in this quiet little house in the quiet little village helped my personal sanity a lot and all the sports I did back then (bicycle, running on the beach, swimming) helped me to get a little better relationship with my body. Last year I had another chance to come back for another month in the summer, and this year I came here for greek eastern and now for a short week in summer.

Tomorrow morning my lifeline and the lifeline of this little house will part. I'm not sad about it. Instead I'm thankfull for the time I've had and the good shelter I've been in. I got to appreciate both the oddities and the presents this house gave me, and I'll keep them in my memory.

I also got to know the village Panagia on Limnos. Another present. This is no paradise, the people here have their quarrels and their share of problems. But I got to know them a little bit during my time here and I got to like them. It's a good place to be and I'm looking forward to come here again. We will stay here for another three days in a rented room and then we will go on and visit another island: Samothraki, the island that I've seen so many times in the distance from here.


Posted by betabug at 21:47 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
09 August 2006

Lying in the Sand

Sunbathing, watching the game from afar


Neon pink and yellow spots jumping in the sun. Thumping sounds as the ball is hit, players shouting and announcing numbers. A little bit of a chill as the sun hides behind a cloud. We are lying in deckchairs on the beach. Slacking in the sun is what we do.


Posted by betabug at 18:15 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
13 August 2006

Under the Moon

Listen to the surf


We've slept our last night on Limnos on the beach, under the moon and the stars. Before falling asleep I was watching the shooting stars. The sleeping bags kept us warm, even the morning dew didn't disturb us. I slept sound and untroubled, but not long enough.

When the sun went up again, we walked back to the village. I saw the sun rise behind the little creek that runs to the beach (when there is rainfall, not now).

From the village the taxi took us to Myrina, where we are now aboard the F/B Παναγια Σουμελα (Panagia Soumela) to take us to Samothraki. I'm not yet really awake and unable to ingest solid food. Breakfast will have to wait and a bed and falling asleep again would be heaven.


Posted by betabug at 08:15 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
15 September 2006

My Notebook

Tough little black book

A few days ago, Eleni's father came through Athens, and in the few hours he was in town we went to eat and walked to Syntagma for coffee. Somewhere around Evripidou street he said he'd want a notebook for a journal and asked me where to get a good notebook in Athens. I pull out the little black notebook I use and recommend it. As it seems he was looking for something cheaper... which is ironic, since we went to Syntagma square for coffee, another term for throwing money out of the window.

The brand of my notebook is in fashion, it's a Moleskine. There is a big marketing hype around these notebooks (that BBC article gives a good roundup of some of the ambivalences about these things). So much hype indeed, that I at times felt an urge to look out for something else. They are quite expensive too. But I didn't buy mine, both the small, plain one and the bigger one have been presents. I keep and use them for some simple reasons: They are very useful and tough enough for me. I carry the small notebook with me every day since more than two years now, traveling all around Greece and Athens. I did not expect it to survive that long, even given that I don't carry it in my trousers pockets. But so far it has kept up and with no prospect of failure apparent either. The binding is enduring, the outer cover is absent of cracks. Apart from that it's a functional notebook.

notebook page with drawing from Palaiokastro, Limnos

With these notebooks it has become a fashion to publish pages from it. Especially the painters and sketchers love it and I enjoyed some good examples online. To show you what I do with mine, I've put the picture online. Mostly I scribble down thoughts and ideas, small things I try to remember, to-do lists, anything. Sometimes I can get enough spirit up to do a little drawing. I like drawing with a normal pen. It is very hard, every little mistake shows up, but when I like the result it is a good reward. The picture show's the cape of "Palaiokastro" near Plaka on the island of Limnos. Of course as I'm not an artist, these pages are very rare. (Click on the image for a bigger view.)

When I went to the bookshop on Wednesday I turned the marketing hype upside down. Instead of buying a moleskine because of the famed reputation Bruce Chatwin gave them (via the marketing hype), I went and bought the book in which Chatwin mentions the notebook.


Posted by betabug at 22:47 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
18 July 2008

On board

On the boat again


My vacation has started. I am on the Παναγιά Σουμέλα(Panagia Soumela), due to leave for Limnos in a bit more than an hour.

Been on this ship before, two years ago, from Limnos to Samothraki.

As seen on the pic, it's a jolly sailor's life on board. There's no wind, I hope for a good night's sleep on deck, seeing some stars and a safe arrival tomorrow in Myrina.


Posted by betabug at 17:52 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
21 July 2008

Lazy vacation days

It's the fresh air

It's really incredible how much I can sleep when I'm in the village on Limnos. It's so much quieter than Athens, the air is fresh and it's cooler.

The first days I've slept, eaten and went to the beach. Oh, and I've said hello to everyone. The sea is wonderful. The next days I'll be a bit more active I guess.

Not much has changed here The little house I used to live in has been sold. I'm staying in a rented room.



Posted by betabug at 21:07 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
27 July 2008

Nicht-lesend

+ nicht wirklich viel schreibend

Diese Ferien habe ich bis jetzt etwa 3 Seiten im mitgebrachten Buch gelesen. Das ist schon erstaunlich, gehöre ich doch sonst zu den Leseratten. Einerseits liegts wohl daran, dass ich nur ein Buch mitgenommen habe, auf Griechisch und auch nicht so toll (Μερά τη ζωή von Θ. Στεφανόπουλος). Andererseits hätt ich sonst auch mehr zu lesen mitgenommen. Stattdessen bin ich zufrieden mir am Strand das Meer anzuschauen, im Dorf und unterwegs durch die Insel die Felder, Gärten und die Wolken, und wenn ich bei Stratoula in der Taverne sitze, findet sich immer jemand zu einem Schwätzchen.

An dieser simplen Zufriedenheit liegt's auch, dass ich nicht viel schreibe. Unternehmen tun wir schon was, aber das Bedürfnis mit der Mini-Tastatur des Telefons ein Oevre drüber zu verfassen ist nicht da, angesichts eines kühlen Bads im klaren Wasser vom Zemata-Strand.

Fotos hab ich dafür einige gemacht. Ich werde wohl nach den Ferien einen "Limnos im Panorama"-Post machen können.



Posted by betabug at 16:13 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
31 July 2008

Flying home from Limnos

Back in Athens
Seafood in a taverna in Kotsina/Limnos

Returned back home from Limnos yesterday. This time by plane, which is much faster than coming back by boat. 4 hours door-to-door instead of something like 22 hours. The flight itself is very short (about 35 minutes), but of course there's lots of time spent getting to and from airports and going through all the formalities. The flight was interesting, we saw most of Limnos from above, later also Ai Strati. Since Aegean is flying to and from Limnos too now, it's much easier to get a ticket and the departure time is much more relaxed. (Olympic's flights are either at 6 in the morning or at midnight, Aegean had one flight at 13:25 noon.)

In Athens it's much warmer - maybe not the measured temperature, but there is less cooling down due to wind and all the buildings reflect the heat. I'm still dreaming of all the endless and wonderful beaches on the island, cooling down in the clear water. There were very few people on the island, so many times we had a huge beach all for a few people. Next neighbor two parasols to the left, not 1.5 meters. Also parasols installed by the municipality, together with small cabins for changing - and at no cost to the guests. Limnos is a different world than more "touristy" islands.

Oh, the picture... lots of fish and seafood to be eaten! I think I haven't ever eaten so much fish and sea food in so little time. It's so much different to eat that stuff there than in Athens.


Posted by betabug at 19:50 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
29 October 2008

Limnos Panoramas

Those were the summer days...
Limnos island's capital Myrina seen from above

On this summer's vacation on Limnos, I took some pictures to be stitched together to panorama pictures. Finally here they are. Damn memories, where did the summer days go, I had a wonderful time there again. Limnos really is a special place.

The kastro of Myrina

The first few are of Myrina (the capital "city" of the island) and it's "kastro". As usual, click on the thumbs to see the bigger panorama pictures.


The gate of the castle of Myrina

This is the gate of the castle, as seen from above. It was really nice and green. There were also some clouds and we even had a bit of rain. Otherwise it was nice summer weather.

The old cinema in Myrina

Myrina is a nice, easy place. Sure it's one of the tourist spots on the island, but as the island all together doesn't have much of tourism to speak of, it's pretty calm. I like the atmosphere of this old cinema (out of action) and I like the 3d-feeling I get when looking at this pic.

The kavoiria on Limnos

There isn't much left in the pre-ancient (dunno how that's properly said" site of the Kavoiria. But one can feel that the site was built on a really special location. I like going there and I hope the picture catched some of the site's spirit. The guard explained that the temple was "stolen", people carried the stuff of for building material. That stopped only in the 1970s, when the archeological service finally showed some interest, he said.

Hephaestia theatre on Limnos

Hephaestia used to be the "second" city on Lemnos. Now it doesn't exist any more, except for the archeological site, tended to by the Italian archeological school in Athens. The theater is a mix of different periods and apparently a lot is reconstructed.

Prehistoric site of Poliohni on Limnos

Poliohni is something like the oldest city in Europe. It's a prehistoric site, going back to the bronze age... something like 5000 years old. It's also very impressive to see today. I like the place and its surroundings. (I cut the panorama for the thumbnail... click on it, it's much bigger.)

Agia Triada beach on Limnos, near Poliohni

After visiting Poliohni, we asked another guard there for a nice beach to go for a swim nearby. He recommended the "Agia Triada" beach, which is this jewel you see in the picture. Wonderful.

Posted by betabug at 11:42 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
30 October 2008

Χαμογελάτε!

Κάνει καλό
Χαμογελάτε - ωφελεί την υγεία και τον τουρισμό

Μια που έβαλα τις πανοραμικές φωτογραφίες από το φετινό καλοκαίρι στην Λήμνο, βρήκα και αυτήν την φωτογραφία μίας πινακίδας που μάλλον ο Δήμος Μούδρου έβαλε. "Χαμογελάτε - ωφελεί την υγεία και τον τουρισμό".

Δεν ξέρω αν φτάνει ένα χαμόγελο για να λυθούν όλα τα προβλήματα που έχει ένα απομακρυσμένο νησί σαν την πανέμορφη Λήμνο... αλλά καλό κάνει, αυτό είναι σίγουρο. Κατά την γνώμη μου όμως, η πινακίδα πιο πολύ για γέλια είναι, παρά για χαμόγελα.


Posted by betabug at 12:40 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
06 March 2010

pjsua: The Geek Out SIP Client

It's as geeky as making a phone call can get

There are many options for making SIP/VoIP phone calls over the Internet. There are some with nice user interface, some that get you over almost all the the little hurdles and problems (like for example X-Lite, which you should try if you're ever stuck unable to make a connection, as it seems to work around most problems on its own). But if you're a real geek at heart, there is only one choice: pjsua. pjsua does not have any such timewasting features as a GUI or an address book.


In fact pjsua isn't really meant to be used as an everyday SIP client. It's more of a reference implementation, helping to make sure that a setup is right, helping you to find out what's going on over the (virtual) SIP wire. In the default setup it spews out all kind of connection messages and status things. The configuration is done over command line arguments.

But then, if you want to geek out, you can use pjsua very well as your everyday SIP client. Some of the shortcommings it has, will only help to keep you interested... and in the end you could use one of the language interfaces to the pjsip API to build your own client anyway.

So here's some of my setup: First of all you can also place those command line arguments you need to set up accounts and all that into a file in order to get something like a "saved account preferences". I then call pjsua with only one argument, the path to that file. Next I've created an alias in the shell, to call pjsua with that one argument.

Here is how such a config file could look:

# pjsua SIP client config file
# http://www.pjsip.org/pjsua.htm
--app-log-level=3
# get rid of almost all those status and debug messages
# ------------------------------------------
# when I'm in the office, I hook up to the PBX
--id sip:112@10.0.7.14
--registrar sip:10.0.7.14
--realm 'Registered Users'
# the realm used for our Panasonic PBX
--username 112
--password supersecret
--reg-timeout=1800
# the PBX initially complained about a too short registration
# timeout value, that's why this is here
# ------------------------------------------
--next-account
# ------------------------------------------
# a (hypothetical) SIP provider for my private calls:
--id sip:1234567890@sip.example.com
--registrar sip:sip.example.com
--username 1234567890
--password supersecret
--realm=sip.example.com
# this provider works only with UDP:
--no-tcp
--stun-srv=stun.example.com

You separate different accounts with ``--next-account``, then you probably can set up as many accounts as you want. So, even if this file is just "command line arguments written into a file", it works as well as any Unix config file.

Given that I've used ``--app-log-level=3`` to cut out most of the debug infos, the user interface is much more useable. The debug info *does come in handy*, the moment something doesn't work out, like when I had to find out why the PBX complained about a "too short time given" or something. In everyday usage, I just cut the log-level down and the UI cleans up. It now looks something like this:

+=============================================================================+
|       Call Commands:         |   Buddy, IM & Presence:  |     Account:      |
|                              |                          |                   |
|  m  Make new call            | +b  Add new buddy       .| +a  Add new accnt |
|  M  Make multiple calls      | -b  Delete buddy         | -a  Delete accnt. |
|  a  Answer call              |  i  Send IM              | !a  Modify accnt. |
|  h  Hangup call  (ha=all)    |  s  Subscribe presence   | rr  (Re-)register |
|  H  Hold call                |  u  Unsubscribe presence | ru  Unregister    |
|  v  re-inVite (release hold) |  t  ToGgle Online status |  >  Cycle next ac.|
|  U  send UPDATE              |  T  Set online status    |  [  Cycle prev ac.|
| ],[ Select next/prev call    +--------------------------+-------------------+
|  x  Xfer call                |      Media Commands:     |  Status + Config: |
|  X  Xfer with Replaces       |                          |                   |
|  #  Send RFC 2833 DTMF       | cl  List ports           |  d  Dump status   |
|  *  Send DTMF with INFO      | cc  Connect port         | dd  Dump detailed |
| dq  Dump curr. call quality  | cd  Disconnect port      | dc  Dump config   |
|                              |  V  Adjust audio Volume  |  f  Save config   |
|  S  Send arbitrary REQUEST   | Cp  Codec priorities     |  f  Save config   |
+------------------------------+--------------------------+-------------------+
|  q  QUIT   L  ReLoad   sleep MS   echo [0|1|txt]     n: detect NAT type     |
+=============================================================================+
You have 1 active call
Current call id=1 to sip:00411234567@sip.example.com [CONFIRMED]
>>> h
>>>  14:16:00.784    pjsua_app.c  Call 1 is DISCONNECTED [reason=200 (Normal call clearing)]

At the top is the status-and-command menu, a bit like on a BBS. Below is a prompt. There was a call in progress, which I just hung up using the h command. For example to make another call, I'd enter m, then I would be prompted to enter the number... but pjsua expects a sip-URI, something like the sip:00411234567@sip.example.com in the example screen. I'm not currently using the "buddy list" stuff, probably I could use that as some sort of rudimentare address book. For the few calls that I make currently, I just cut and paste these URLs.

So the usage of this beast can't get any more geeky. What's great though is the technical level: Since pjsip/pjsua is a reference implementation, you get the best that there is. The call quality is great. There are no delays to draw some GUI elements on the screen. (At least on my Macs,) audio just worked. I don't have to live with the limitation of some GUI SIP-clients (like the free X-Lite only giving you one account set up), I have my own geeky limitations!

Posted by betabug at 14:51 | Comments (13) | Trackbacks (0)
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